Adolescent opiate exposure in the female rat induces subtle alterations in maternal care and transgenerational effects on play behavior.

Department of Biomedical Science, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University North Grafton, MA, USA.
Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2011; 2:29. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00029
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The non-medical use of prescription opiates, such as Vicodin(®) and MSContin(®), has increased dramatically over the past decade. Of particular concern is the rising popularity of these drugs in adolescent female populations. Use during this critical developmental period could have significant long-term consequences for both the female user as well as potential effects on her future offspring. To address this issue, we have begun modeling adolescent opiate exposure in female rats and have observed significant transgenerational effects despite the fact that all drugs are withdrawn several weeks prior to pregnancy. The purpose of the current set of studies was to determine whether adolescent morphine exposure modifies postpartum care. In addition, we also examined juvenile play behavior in both male and female offspring. The choice of the social play paradigm was based on previous findings demonstrating effects of both postpartum care and opioid activity on play behavior. The findings revealed subtle modifications in the maternal behavior of adolescent morphine-exposed females, primarily related to the amount of time females' spend nursing and in non-nursing contact with their young. In addition, male offspring of adolescent morphine-exposed mothers (MOR-F1) demonstrate decreased rough and tumble play behaviors, with no significant differences in general social behaviors (i.e., social grooming and social exploration). Moreover, there was a tendency toward increased rough and tumble play in MOR-F1 females, demonstrating the sex-specific nature of these effects. Given the importance of the postpartum environment on neurodevelopment, it is possible that modifications in maternal-offspring interactions, related to a history of adolescent opiate exposure, plays a role in the observed transgenerational effects. Overall, these studies indicate that the long-term consequences of adolescent opiate exposure can impact both the female and her future offspring.

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    ABSTRACT: Opioids are among the world's oldest known drugs used mostly for pain relief, but recreational use is also widespread. A particularly important problem is opioid exposure in females, as their offspring can also be affected. Adverse intrauterine and postnatal environments can affect offspring development and may lead to various disabilities later in life. It is clear that repetitive painful experiences, such as randomly occurring invasive procedures during neonatal intensive care, can permanently alter neuronal and synaptic organization and therefore later behavior. At the same time, analgesic drugs can also be harmful, inducing neuronal apoptosis or withdrawal symptoms in the neonate and behavioral alterations in adulthood. Hence, risk-benefit ratios should be taken into consideration when pain relief is required during pregnancy or in neonates. Recreational use of opioids can also alter many aspects of life. Intrauterine opioid exposure has many toxic effects, inducing poor pregnancy outcomes due to underdevelopment, but it is believed that later negative consequences are more related to environmental factors such as a chaotic lifestyle and inadequate prenatal care. One of the crucial components is maternal care, which changes profoundly in addicted mothers. In substance-dependent mothers, pre- and postnatal care has special importance, and controlled treatment with a synthetic opioid (e.g., methadone) could be beneficial. We aimed to summarize and compare human and rodent data, as it is important to close the gap between scientific knowledge and societal policies. Special emphasis is given to gender differences in the sensitivity of offspring to perinatal opioid exposure.
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    ABSTRACT: Prescription opiate use by adolescent girls has increased significantly in the past decade. Preclinical studies using rats report alterations in morphine sensitivity in the adult offspring of adolescent morphine-exposed females (MOR-F1) when compared with the offspring of adolescent saline-exposed females (SAL-F1). To begin to elucidate the development of these next generation modifications, the present study examined the effects of acute morphine administration on sedation and corticosterone secretion in prepubescent SAL-F1 and MOR-F1 male and female rats. In addition, alterations in proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene expression in the arcuate nucleus, as well as in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and μ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene expressions in the ventral tegmental area, were analyzed using quantitative PCR, to determine whether differential regulation of these genes was correlated with the observed behavioral and/or endocrine effects. Increased morphine-induced sedation, coupled with an attenuation of morphine-induced corticosterone secretion, was observed in MOR-F1 males. Significant alterations in both POMC and OPRM1 gene expressions were also observed in MOR-F1 males, with no change in TH mRNA expression. Overall, these data suggest that the transgenerational effects of adolescent morphine exposure can be discerned before pubertal development and are more pronounced in males, and suggest dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in the offspring of adolescent morphine-exposed females.
    Behavioural pharmacology 02/2014; · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opioid addiction is a major social, economic and medical problem worldwide. Long-term adverse consequences of chronic opiate exposure not only involve the individuals themselves, but also their offspring. Adolescent maternal morphine exposure results in behavior and morphological changes in the brain of their adult offspring. However, few studies investigate the effect of adult opiate exposure on their offspring. Furthermore, the underlying molecular signals regulating the inter-generational effects of morphine exposure are still elusive. We report here that morphine exposure of adult male and female rats resulted in anxiety-like behavior and dendritic retraction in the dentate gyrus (DG) region of the hippocampus in their adult offspring. The behavior and morphological changes were concomitant with the down-regulation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-2 signaling in the granular zone of DG. Over-expression of hippocampal IGF-2 by bilateral intra-DG injection of lentivirus encoding the IGF-2 gene prevented anxiety-like behaviors in offspring. Furthermore, exposure to an enriched environment during adolescence corrected the reduction of hippocampal IGF-2 expression, normalized anxiety-like behavior and reversed dendritic retraction in the adult offspring. Thus, parental morphine exposure can lead to the down-regulation of hippocampal IGF-2, which contributed to the anxiety and hippocampal dendritic retraction in their offspring. An adolescent enriched environment experience prevented the behavior and morphological changes in their offspring through hippocampal IGF-2 signaling. IGF-2 and an enriched environment may be a potential intervention to prevention of anxiety and brain atrophy in the offspring of parental opioid exposure.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 3 June 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.128.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 06/2014; · 8.68 Impact Factor

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